Critical Pages

Arts, Society, Mathematics, Politics, Religion, Economics, Science, Anthropology...Absolutely Anything
Critical Pages

Critical Pages is…

Critical Pages is a collection of essays, observations, opinions, notes, prose pieces and maybe a few poems on a variety of subjects. The website has been around for a number of years and had changed, vanished, reappeared, had bursts of growth, gone dormant, and at times has apparently joined the Choir Invisible. So, here it is, back again, more or less.

Just run your cursor over the images below and you'll get a chance to read more...
When Did We Begin To Cook?
Cooking is astonishingly important. It's amazing how much caloric energy we use up chewing and digesting raw food. In fact, people on a diet of raw food generally don't get...
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Sugar Maples & Maple Syrup
Most innocents who drive to the supermarket for maple syrup return with a bottle of that looks as if it contained true syrup made from boiling down the sap from...
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What Fruit Grew on the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil?
After God created Adam and put him in the garden of Eden “to dress it and keep it” the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree in the...
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Beatitudes & Nadia Bolz-Weber
You’ve heard of the Beatitudes, right? Maybe not, but you’ve probably heard the proverb-like statements which are called Beatitudes. In the Gospel of Mathew, Jesus gives eight beatitudes in his...
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June Is Adopt-A-Cat Month®
Yes, June is indeed Adopt-A-Cat Month®. You can check that out at americanhumane.org. Maybe we were absent from school the day they taught about that. Or maybe Adopt-A-Cat month wasn’t...
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Stamp Out Starving Writers!
Stamp Out Starving Writers! Buy Their Books! That's our motto here at Critical Pages. And in celebration of spring, we suggest you stroll over to your local bookstore and buy...
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Our hard-working scribes…

 

 

Most of our posts are short, but a handful are considerably longer. Among the longer pieces is Beebe Bahrami’s Cafe Neandertal, about a dig in France uncovering Neandertal (or Neanderthal) bones. Neanderthals were our ancestors who came before homo sapiens and populated the globe for far longer than we late comers. Cafe Neandertal is unlike any other book you’ll read on paleoanthropology. Superintelligence, by Nick Bostrom, is about artificial intelligence and machine learning, a rather dire book when it talks about our future, but fascinating. Ada’s Algorithm is about Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s daughter, the young woman who wrote the world’s first computer program. The author, James Essinger, gives us a deft portrait of this remarkable woman. Click on the book titles to see the reviews.

By the way, you’ll notice that our scribes are working on pages, not on long scrolls. Writing on pages and then gathering those pages into books was the new technology of the Middle Ages. The newly invented book gave readers the amazing opportunity of going from the beginning of a text to the middle or the end or to anyplace in between just by turning a few pages! No more having to unwind a long scroll and then rewind it back. (Just how tedious this could be was rediscovered in the early years of the computer when magnetized tapes were used to store data; to find things on the tape, you had to wind or rewind back and forth, much as you would on a scroll.)  Furthermore, the pages were flat, not rolled up, so you could paint gorgeously colored illustrations on the pages. Indeed, the paintings, often done with gold leaf, were so brilliant and glowing they were called, as they still are today, illuminations. A book with pictures —  just like the illustration up there right now. It was wonderful! What would they think of next?